On this day in 1977, the world lost a one-of-a-kind talent when Elvis Presley died of a heart attack at the too-young age of 42. In the subsequent four decades since his death, his fame has only continued to grow. He is both a singular talent whose music and films still attract new fans across the globe, and the tragic story behind his death remains perhaps the greatest cautionary example of the downside of show business.
Yet here we are you, 40 years later still listening to and watching the undisputed “King of Rock and Roll” shake his hips and sing. Many of his movies — including Jailhouse Rock, Viva Las Vegas, and Blue Hawaii — remain essential viewing, and cultural anthropologists are still frantically discussing and studying the way that Elvis changed the course of music, film, and popular entertainment in general. With a talent as big as his, will they ever figure it out? Can even the brightest among us analyze why Elvis was so special? Probably not, but like the legacy he leaves behind, trying to understand Elvis and his appeal is a way to keep him alive.
All of this is fantastic, but what is missing are the personal stories of how Elvis touched your life. Did you have your first dance to the refrains of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” or another of his hits? Were you ever able to catch the King in concert? What’s your favorite Elvis movie? Where were you when you found out that he had passed away? Please share any Elvis memories, large or small, in the comments as a way for us to commemorate the 40th anniversary of his death. Elvis may have left the building, but he can never leave our hearts.
Explore our Elvis Presley archives here.